October 04, 2010

50-Caliber. Hand-held. Full-Auto.

.50 caliber holes

So... how was your Sunday?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2010 08:54 AM

All I can say about 50 cal is "Wear ear protection and never shoot a snake in your garage with one."

Posted by: paul mitchell at October 4, 2010 08:58 AM

So what was it you were firing?

Posted by: russ harris at October 4, 2010 09:13 AM

I shot a .50 AE Desert Eagle at a range in Fayetteville back in '97. I had been directed to the rifle range where some guys next to me were shooting a Mossberg 500. When I opened up they both peeked around the partition and stood there gawking. After I had emptied the clip they mouthed 'WTF?'. I grinned, chambered and kept shooting until the one of the recoil springs snapped. When you can hear the report over a Moss 500 and ear pro then you know that is one loud 'Boom'.

Posted by: Dan Irving at October 4, 2010 09:17 AM

Nice clean holes. I am guessing semi wad cutters.

I was also at the range yesterday. Shooting .308 and 5.56.

Posted by: Professor Hale at October 4, 2010 09:56 AM

I was shooting a Templar Consulting "Broadsword," a quick-change multi-caliber system that presently comes set-up with 5.56, 6.5 Grendel, and .50 Beowulf barrels.

This one was configured with a 10-inch barrel chambered in .50 Beowulf, throwing 300-grain hollowpoints from Alexander Arms. I believe the hollowpoints were Hornaday, but don't quote me on that.

We also shot it in 5.56, but I didn't get any of that on video on my camera.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2010 10:02 AM

That's not a bad group, what was the range?

.50 Beowulf in full auto sounds like fun, but, isn't it rather silly? What's the possible application that the Grendel round wouldn't also cover? I suppose if grizzlies started to attack in squads, but otherwise?

Posted by: ThomasD at October 4, 2010 10:29 AM


The 6.5 Grendel and .50 Beowulf are completely different.

The 6.5 is a long-range optimized cartridge designed to excel at 500+ yards against medium-sized targets (humans, deer-sized game), using bullets in the 90-130 grain range. For tactical applications, it excels at counter-sniper and precision work.

The .50 Beowulf is a sledgehammer, firing bullets between 300-500 grains, optimized for use at short range. It is great for shooting in heavy brush, against dangerous game, and heavily armored human targets. As configured as I shot it, it would be a great entry gun for a tactical team against suspects wearing body armor, or for soldiers manning vehicle checkpoints.

Those groups were fired by Templar Custom's Bob Reynolds at about 10 yards (I think). Yes, that is short range, but is what the application would be firing that weapon in that mode.

I shot it full auto at 50 yards, and honestly don't know if I could keep 3 round bursts on a human target not matter how much I practiced. That said, it isn't designed to go full-auto at that range.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2010 10:43 AM

The .50 Beowulf was intended for, among other things, breaching use and dismantling barricades. It will break apart cinder block and just about anything else that could be used for an improvised barrier. While it will dramatically and immediately provoke an attitude check by anyone shot by it, that isn't its primary purpose.

Rather, it's to encourage a bad guy to give up before getting shot.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at October 4, 2010 01:00 PM

Incidentally, I like to shoot Buffalo Bore magnum .45/70 ammo from my Marlin 1895G. 450 grains at 1990 fps, that's sort of a frontier version of the concept.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at October 4, 2010 01:03 PM

CY, I'm well aware of what the Grendel round is, I'm also aware of what a fantastic projectile a 6.5 mm can be. I've owned a sporterized Swedish Mauser and have used it on both mule and whitetail deer. In Scandinavia it is practically the standard moose gun.

Sure the the .50 Beowulf may have some limited usage, in hunting or tactical applications, but that was not my point. My point was that I can still think of no reason, nor have I been offered any reason, why this round would ever be useful *in full auto mode.* As I said, fun, but ultimately silly. (And I've got no problem with people owning or doing silly things.)

First off, if we are talking legal and ethical hunting of any type we can rule out select fire. Period. It is not an issue. We can also forget about the 'brush busting' myth; every bullet, no matter how heavy, can be deflected from it's intended target by the merest twig. The .50 Beowulf round is no better than any other commonly used round for dangerous game. If anything it is very limited in its effective range and terminal ballistics.

(and that's all from a 24" barrel)

Lastly, if you are relying on its auto loading capacity to make up for poor shot placement you really need to rethink your approach to hunting.

Beyond that, in the tactical realm, choice of projectile in any given caliber makes a huge difference. A 130 gr softpoint 6.5 mm at close range is just as much a 'sledgehammer' on any human target. Sure you can talk about the dangers of over penetration if you wish, but then you need to consider whether the Beowulf round is built to defeat body armor. Because if it is then 300 grains of bullet going roughly 1200-1500 f.p.s. out of that short barrel isn't going to be stopped by much either.

Sure, a .50 Beowulf can be used as a breaching round, albeit unlikely in full auto, and there are much better options available for that application, particularly frangible shotgun rounds or real breaching charges.

As a sub-gun entry weapon it is an over-horsepowered alternative to a full house 10mm, or even NATO 9mm, and as a crewman, or checkpoint weapon it is woefully under ranged with a rainbow like shot path(and per round the ammo weighs a ton)

Marketing guys know what makes people smile, and I give them credit for delivering the goods. Hammering a target with a mag full of that stuff had to be fun (even more fun if you weren't footing the bill.)

But sometimes it is important to know whether you are buying the sizzle or buying the steak. A .50 Beowulf in full auto is pure sizzle.

Posted by: ThomasD at October 4, 2010 02:17 PM
Sure the the .50 Beowulf may have some limited usage, in hunting or tactical applications, but that was not my point. My point was that I can still think of no reason, nor have I been offered any reason, why this round would ever be useful *in full auto mode.* As I said, fun, but ultimately silly. (And I've got no problem with people owning or doing silly things.)

Okay, I think we may be mis-communicating, so let me back up.

I agree that .50 Beowulf has limited utility in full-auto mode. A full 10-round magazine empties blindingly fast. That said, would think it could be useful for actual checkpoint contact-distance vehicle inspection work, and it is certainly useful for breaching in a scenario when the breacher is also your point man and may not have time to transition to another weapon, and does wonders reducing walls a 5.56 can't penetrate. Also, that target was shot at from room distances, full-auto, so I think it might work decently in that role. I can't say I'd want SWAT using it, but it would certainly work for military shooters.

You also need to keep in mind that the weapon is a system, and the 5.56, 6.5 and .50 all use the same receiver. The .50 was fun, but the auto feature was certainly included with the 5.56 in mind, and the capability to fire other calibers like that is just a bonus.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 4, 2010 02:55 PM

Man, after checking out the pic and reading the comments, I feel like I need to go get a tattoo or something to kick up my testosterone level a notch or two. I suddenly feel woefully inadequate.

Posted by: gcw at October 6, 2010 10:33 AM

I shoot a mossberg plinkster 22s, at those iron spinner targets. Where does that rate on the manly meter?

Posted by: brando at October 7, 2010 04:16 PM